Save the Wolves—Abolish Ranching and Hunting Now

One of the most shocking things about the recent obliteration of the Wedge pack by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was that even the allegedly pro-wolf environmental group “Conservation Northwest” supported the slaughter. Sure, they had their sound bites about hoping that eliminating entire wolf packs every time there are a few cattle depredations would not become standard practice. But by conceding to the lethal removal of the Wedge wolves (via aerial gunning by helicopter, no less), they helped pave the way for future atrocities.

Conservation Northwest’s stance is comparable to that of the World Wildlife Fund, who recently declined to go as far as Greenpeace in calling for an outright ban on offshore oil drilling in the rapidly-thawing Arctic—they felt their concessions to the wildlife-destructive industry insured them a seat at the bargaining table.  I suppose CNW didn’t want to appear extreme, like some radical who might say something such as…

The surest way to keep this kind of canicide from happening again is to get cattle off our national forests. Better yet, abolish ranching altogether (thereby also sparing cows a lifetime of abuse at the hands of the livestock industry). The only way to guarantee you’re not supporting the abuse of cows and the destruction of wolves is to boycott beef. While you’re at it, why not go vegan and spare all animals unnecessary suffering? And of course, if we really want to protect wolves, we should abolish deer and elk hunting.

But the conservation group played it safe and didn’t even come close to mentioning these or any other long-term solutions. I guess they figure it’s better to leave it to the true animal extremists—compassionate people like the folks at, who added this postscript to their eleventh-hour petition urging the WDFW not to kill the Wedge pack wolves:  “That part of the world is “safe” for the burger & steak gluttons once again; no nasty wolves will cut into their meat farming profits.”

Many mainstream environmental groups and their members still cling to the notion of “sustainable” beef. It’s surprising how many people who advocate for wolves eat meat like there’s no tomorrow, comfortable in their rationalization that cows are “domesticated” or “dumb animals” bred for slaughter.

I lived for years in northeast Washington and worked on the Colville National Forest—where the Wedge wolves tried to establish a home. I pity the cows, who are cruelly de-horned, trucked up to the ends of the logging roads and left to fend for themselves on some thistle-covered clear cut with only a drying up creek for water. But as a forestry contractor taking seedling growth and survival surveys, I saw first-hand how the US Forest Service panders to the cattle industry. I routinely found half of the new green growth eaten on young conifers in a tree “plantation” or the whole tree trampled upon by the ever-present bovines, whose wallows and trails further denuded the landscape. A cow pie plopped right on top of a smothered seedling was a common sight.

Yet whenever I pointed out the damage caused by livestock grazing, the forest service representatives would tell me to record it as deer damage. By blaming the native deer and elk, the forest service kills two birds with one stone, so to speak. It lets their cronies in the cattle industry off the hook and serves as fodder for the game department good ol’ boys to help justify expanded hunting seasons.

For the sake of the forests and all who live there, it’s time to remove ourselves from the wildlife equation and leave the predating to the natural predators. Wild animals are not just playthings for sportsmen, and human beings can live much healthier on a plant-based diet, as their primate cousins always have. True carnivores, such as wolves, coyotes, cougars, marine mammals or members of the weasel family have to eat meat to survive. If you’re not willing to go vegan for the sake of the animals you eat, maybe you could at least think of the other animals affected by your bill of fare.

Earlier this month, Mitch Freedman of Conservation Northwest made the nebulous statement, “There needs to be a way for wolves and man to coexist. Wolves were here first.”

There is a way…but it would mean getting the cows off of our National Forests, the sheep out of our Wilderness Areas and putting a stop to the sport of big game hunting.

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson


20 thoughts on “Save the Wolves—Abolish Ranching and Hunting Now

  1. Hunting should be abolished!!! People should not be able to pick and choose when and if an animal and its herd “need to be thinned out” or “we’re helping them by not starving to death”. All a bunch of !@^%$#!!!!

  2. I went Vegan 3 years ago after reading the Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. I had no idea how animals suffer. When I drive by a slaughter plant, I want to go and rescue the HERD of sheep that are killed one by one, day by day. I feel so sorry for the cows that are trucked over, one piled on top of another. They KNOW they are going to be killed. It is so stupid raising these intelligent beautiful animals for slaughter. The dairy industry keeping female cows pregnant and the babies are a result of the millions of gallons of milk that is not even meant to be drunk by humans. It is for the baby cows. When I found out about veal as a little girl, it make me sick to my stomach. These babies are treated like trash. the roundup of the wild horses by BLM. Why? to free up the land for the cattle ranchers. I moved from Tucson to northern Idaho to work with a horse rescue ranch. Many of these beautiful horses were saved from slaughter. the 50,000 sitting in housing pens in North and South Dakota? They were once free. They will never find homes for all of them. Again man decides who will live and who will die. The wolf slaughter makes me sick to my stomach. There are 13 ranches in Idaho and Western Montana that live in harmony with the wolves. They have electric fencing with red flags and 200 lb Perenese dogs on watch 24/7. One lamb ranch has only lost one lamb in a year in Haley Lake Idaho because of this system. It is MAN that brought this Canadian wolf down in the first place and t hey should be up in Canada or Alaska. Not here. Man always screws things up and they play God.

  3. Beautiful wolf photo, Jim. Where was this taken?

    I agree with what you wrote. I’ve seen several references lately to boycotting Washington state after the Wedge Pack murders. Someone pointed out it was more or less unfair to punish everyone – and – that it’s quite likely that many who might suffer the collateral damage of a boycott may be just the people who are siding with us. So maybe we have to redefine the target? I suggest boycotting beef from any ranchers not recognized as being part of the “predator friendly ranching” operations.
    I also suggest putting some muscle into and making every attempt to have the government revamp Fish and Wildlife SERVICES….no service to wildlife, that’s for damn certain. Get those yahoo hunters out of the equation and decision-making or, at least have a balanced group from both sides. Also getting that idiot Salazar out would be good, too. Too many agencies involved for anyone’s benefit.
    You mentioned having previously been employed by the Forest Service….and had quite a story to tell. It would be beneficial to wildlife and the forests if other “former employees” could assemble their complaints and bring it to the attention of someone with the legal authority to actually get things turned around. Know any others that might be interested?


    “The chairman of the state Senate committee that oversees Washington’s Department of Fish & Wildlife – Senator Kevin Ranker…”
    Remember his name. As far as I know he’s the only legislator to speak out.

    So glad to see this but a little skeptical – if he’s head the this committee…why is he speaking out AFTER the slaughter!?? Wouldnt you think he’d have known about the plan? After all, WE DID!

    Here is the link and perhaps it would be a good place to start…by writing to Senator Ranker to express our outrage but also to let him know his efforts and concern are appreciated.

  5. I’ve been following your blog with interest. For some time now I have been simmering the idea of the end of domestication of animals as my true point of view. But it seemed so radical that I even shocked myself, at first. Yet, now it seems the only logical and rational path to promote.

    It was a great moment of clarity to feel the awareness of how most of society is duped by the big business of animal exploitation- selling it to us as natural, as nutritious, as the desire of the animals themselves – think equestrian sports or working dogs, to name a couple. When it comes to hunting, the exploiters feign being part of the natural order of true carnivores keeping balance in the ecosystem, or eating as they were meant to eat!

    Of course, as has been mentioned on this blog many times before, some exploiters just take pleasure in the killing. The sociopathic personality is alive and well in much greater numbers than the statistics would report when only using human to human transgressions as data.

    And when animals are the victims, the perpetrators don’t face criminal charges but instead are rewarded and allowed to brag about their exploits. (They even get licenses – a government kickback – to do the killing in the first place.) How many photographs of smiling serial killers, like Jeffery Dahmer, standing over their prey would we tolerate? Yet, animal hunter portraits in that vein are posted everywhere to instill ambition, admiration and even envy in others of that ilk.

    The murder of the Wedge Pack Wolves is appalling, and the sadness of it grows when we acknowledge that it is only one of many execution programs in full force. For example, daily news about the “management” of free roaming horses by the BLM is nothing short of an agonizing report of abuse and, well, genocide – all to keep the cattle on their own death march.

    Well, before I drag all my thoughts into one comment, I really want to offer my appreciation for your work, which adds depth and breadth to my own thinking. Going vegan and non-violently helping people to understand that animals are not “other” than us remains an essential foundation from which we can really make a difference.


  6. Pingback: Sleeping With the Enemy | Exposing the Big Game

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